It has been almost a month since I spoke to a Behavioural Health Specialist.
About weight management.
Almost a month since I cried in her office when she said, "I can see how stressed you are about this. Food isn't enjoyable for you."
Because she was right.
Food had become a numbers game for me. Actually, food had been a numbers game for me for almost eight years before I stepped into her office.
Instead of "Oh, that cookie looks delicious," my brain would be busy calculating the calories and what I would have to do to earn said cookie . . . like do an extra HIIT workout or skip a meal. There were always deals I was having to make with myself in order to eat.
Just. To. Fucking. Eat.
It was the sickest, most insidious sort of ritual, logging into My Fitness Pal before and after each edible morsel passed my lips. I would plan whole days of meals just to make sure I didn't eat anything that might throw my numbers off.
And it didn't even help.
I have gained some weight over the last two years and have been trying desperately to lose it, switching up my caloric intake, switching up my workouts, switching up everything I could except for my body itself.
Because you can't just trade that in, you know.
No matter how much you might wish it.
Believe me . . . I've wished it.
But nothing was working, and I was feeling more and more despondent. Things that once brought me joy, like baking for my family, became things I did begrudgingly. Even brewing a cup of tea, something I used to do nightly as a ritual to relax, became yet another word problem I had to solve.
If I want two cups of tea with sugar today, that's six teaspoons of sugar a day. How many carbs am I consuming if I have two cups of tea and am I better off having coffee with creamer instead?
And she saw that. And I cried.
And then she sent me home with a prescription, only it was a different sort of medicine to take internally and much harder to swallow:
1. Step away from My Fitness Pal.
2. Enjoy your food.
3. Include fun activities in your workouts.
4. Try to get one more hour of sleep per day.
I probably don't have to tell you that I cried even more when she handed this to me, do I? I hadn't eaten without calorie counting in almost eight years. I hadn't enjoyed my food--really enjoyed my food--since I was too young to care about my thighs. And fun workouts?! How was I going to do that when I needed to kill myself on a treadmill and lift weights even when it hurt?
Don't even get me started on the more sleep part.
Basically, I left her office feeling like it was a waste of time.
But, I am nothing if not a Type A, eldest child, people pleaser, ever the instruction follower. So, I tried it.
I haven't logged into My Fitness Pal in almost a month. I try to sleep when my body wants the sleep and I try not to feel badly about waking late on the days I can sleep in. I sit with my food, and myself, and try to enjoy the company of both. And I workout when it feels good to workout and I don't workout when it doesn't feel good to workout.
And I am down four pounds over the last month.
This is the first time I have lost weight in a year.
This is the first time, in longer than eight years, I haven't felt at war with my body.
I brewed a cup of tea for myself and my littlest today.
And I am savoring them, slowly and deliberately, reveling in the amazing magic my dear friend Lindsay creates. Instead of forcing myself to eat egg whites on whole grain toast, I charred up three slices of sour Italian bread and ate them with cream cheese (my absolute favorite breakfast), the roof of my mouth torn apart by the crunchy, delicious crust.
If I get hungry, I eat. And if I'm not hungry, I don't eat.
Gone are the days of crying over having to eat another bowl of Greek yogurt just to hit my macros.
Yes, that has happened.
I am once again finding joy in the ritual that means most to me--nourishing those I love. Preparing dinner is cause for a kitchen dance party these days, and I save all the best bananas for my delicious banana bread. I no longer worry about my sporadic craving for pie, but rather find the easiest ways to make something simple, homemade, and delectable to share with my family.
I even plan on making an apple crostata tonight.
You're welcome to join us.
I promise there'll be tea.